Non-Fiction Book Review – Red, White and Who

  • Title: Red, White and Who the Story of Doctor Who in America
  • Authors: Steven Warren Hill, & Jennifer Adams Kelley, Nicholas Seidler, and Robert Warnock, with Janine Fennick and John Lavalie
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 01/23/2018

Red, White and Who was a book that I massively was looking forward to, from the moment I heard about it at Chicago TARDIS a Doctor Who convention. Every year I’d return to the con, only to find the book had been delayed. Now that it hs finally been published, I am very happy to report it does not disappoint.

Red, White and Who is a history book about Doctor Who in the US and Doctor Who fandom in the US. The majority of the book is also a fast and enjoyable read. I was a bit intimidated looking at a 700-plus-page book that even the author describes as a “history” – but it really was an enjoyable and fun read.

The history of Doctor Who in America goes back to the Peter Cushing film, Dr. Who and the Daleks being shown in drive-ins, often as part of a double or triple feature. The television series Doctor Who was first shown in the US in the 1970s when a small group of independent stations bought a syndication package of Jon Pertwee stories. In the early 1980s, Time-Life sold the series (early Tom Baker) to independent and PBS stations (adding the dreaded Da Silva intros along the way). But it wasn’t until LionHeart sold the series to PBS that it really took off in the US. And this book does an excellent job of explaining the history to some extent of PBS and how it works, as well as Doctor Who‘s history with PBS.

Reading this book is part discovery (I never knew that!) and a class reunion as I recognized names, events, etc. It’s a journey and a fascinating one!

The only part of the book I found to be a little less interesting was the information on New Who and the changes in fandom there. That almost could be a separate book – New Who fans live in a different world of streaming services and binge-watching DVDs. Which isn’t to say “Classic fandom” is better – neither is better, it’s just different.

The book includes a large number of appendices, some of which I read and others I only skimmed or flipped through, but they make the book a great resource and something that will probably live on my desk hutch rather than buried in my bookcases.

Red, White and Who is highly, highly recommended – especially to Doctor Who fans in other countries, it’s a cultural history, a highly entertaining read, and very enjoyable!

Full Disclosure: I acted as regional expert for this book – and communicated with the authors by email with what information I knew. I received an acknowledgement in the book – but no monetary compensation.

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